IPL 2018 Preview: Shreyas Iyer begins Delhi Daredevils captaincy stint against hot and cold Kolkata Knight Riders

Ashish Peter 26/04/2018
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Iyer will face his first DD captaincy test on Friday. Image: DD/Twitter.

Bottom-of-the-table Delhi Daredevils will have new leadership in tow when they host Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL on Friday.

Having faced five defeats in six games so far, Gautam Gambhir has stood down from his role as skipper of the side with Shreyas Iyer appointed to the position.

On the other hand, the Knight Riders have blown very hot and cold in their campaign so far, though they do find themselves in fourth spot in the table. After sweeping aside Rajasthan Royals with ease at their own fortress in Jaipur, Dinesh Karthik’s men were inflicted a nine-wicket defeat by Kings XI Punjab at home in Eden Gardens.

IYER NEW FACE OF DAREDEVILS

The 23-year-old Iyer will take charge of a floundering Daredevils who have been completely abject in the competition. The young batsman has been one of the consistent performers for the Delhi franchise in their horror run but he will have his work cut out in resurrecting their miserable IPL campaign.

While Iyer takes the reins of the Daredevils, it could very well be the end of Gambhir’s playing career with the left-hander in woeful form with the bat personally. Having started with a knock of 55 in the side’s opening  game, the left-hander has only scored only 30 runs combined in his subsequent four innings.

That Gambhir will not feature against his former side, whom he led to two IPL titles, is a big possibility for Friday.

PLAYERS IN-FOCUS

It tells you all you need to know about Glenn Maxwell’s form in the IPL this year when he was not considered for captaincy before a 23-year-old youngster. The Aussie maverick has simply not come to the party in the current campaign, bar one knock of 47 against the same opposition at the Eden Gardens.

Come Friday, head coach Ricky Ponting will definitely want more from his compatriot who has not crossed the 20-run mark in any of his four other innings so far.

For Kolkata, Andre Russell has been in sensational six-hitting form and will be one to keep an eye at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. The Caribbean all-rounder might not be able to contribute with the ball due to a thigh strain suffered in the clash against Kings XI, but his batting alone makes him a match-winner for the Kolkata based outfit.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Delhi Daredevils: Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy, Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishab Pant (wk), Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Liam Plunkett, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c, wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Tom Curran, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav

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Virat Kohli blasts 'criminal' bowling by Royal Challengers Bangalore after IPL six-fest

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Virat Kohli has slammed his side after they failed to defend 205 against Chennai

Captain Virat Kohli slammed Royal Challengers’ bowling as “criminal” after Mahendra Singh Dhoni lifted Chennai Super Kings to the top of the Indian Premier League in a game featuring a record 33 sixes.

Dhoni – who stood down for Kohli as India skipper in all formats last year – smashed an unbeaten 70 off 34 as the Super Kings chased down 206 to defeat Bangalore with two balls to spare.

Dhoni hit the ball over the boundary seven times – including to seal the winning runs – while opener Ambati Rayudu slammed eight sixes on Thursday.

Kohli was also docked his match fee of $18,000 because of the Challengers’ slow over-rate at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

“The way we bowled was just not acceptable, giving that many runs in the end was criminal,” said Kohli.

“Dhoni is looking in really good touch, he’s hitting the ball really well this IPL but not great to see it against us,” he added.

Dhoni, 36, displayed his signature cool at the crease in a 101-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Rayudu, who hit 82.

Some have suggested the wicketkeeper-batsman is past his prime but Dhoni’s 209 runs in six games, including two half-centuries, have been critical to putting two-time champions Chennai top of the IPL.

“What’s important in a chase is to know which bowler has how many (overs) left and who the captain will bowl when, and you play accordingly,” said Dhoni.

“You will win some, you’ll lose some but the job of the finisher is to finish the job and help others.”

This year’s IPL is offering $8 million in prize money, including $4 million for the team crowned champions at the May 27 final in Mumbai.

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IPL 2018: Ambati Rayudu finds his stride for Chennai Super Kings in record chase vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

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Chennai Super Kings chased down Royal Challengers Bangalore’s mammoth total of 205/8 to reach the summit of the Indian Premier League standings.

Half-centuries from AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock helped the hosts to another 200-plus score but it wasn’t enough to prevent a fourth defeat for RCB in the current edition.

Ambati Rayudu starred for CSK, hitting three fours and eight sixes in his innings of 82 before being run out by Umesh Yadav.

Chennai skipper MS Dhoni (70 runs of 34 balls) however was on hand to see his side over the line as they won by five wickets with two balls to spare.

DE VILLIERS LEADS CHARGE

Given the star quality at their disposal, the Royal Challengers should really be higher up in the standings even at this stage of the season. One of the main criticisms against them is their tendency to rely on the big names in their batting order.

Either Virat Kohli or De Villiers has had to deliver and this time, it was the South African who starred with his knock of 68. He played some outstanding shots, registering eight sixes and two fours in a masterful display of clean-hitting.

Before Rayudu’s effort, De Villiers led the run-scoring in the league with 280 in six innings so far, boasting a strike rate of 184.21. With the 34-year-old in such devastating form, Bangalore can be forgiven for hanging their hats on their star-studded batting line-up.

What will be even more encouraging is the support De Villiers was afforded. After a poor start to the campaign, Quinton de Kock came good with his sixth IPL half-century.

Mandeep Singh is making a habit of chipping in with some handy knocks and did so again while Washington Sundar ensured they got over the 200-run mark in the final over despite losing four wickets for three runs.

RAYUDU HITS HIS STRIDE

Rayudu has looked impressive this season but while he put together some good starts at the crease in the first four games, he wasn’t able to take the next step and convert those into telling innings. Last time out against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he dropped down to No4 and finally came good.

His knock of 79 from 37 balls led Chennai to a total of 182/3 and they were able to hold on for a four-run win. Returning to open the innings against RCB, it looks as if Rayudu has hit his stride – and the visitors’ bowling attack to all parts of the ground.

After a fast start, the 32-year-old did briefly slow down to an extent as Shane Watson, Suresh Raina and Sam Billings were dismissed cheaply.

Dhoni supported him brilliantly, though, and together they steadied the ship before accelerating towards their target with strategic precision. Rayudu was unfortunate to be run out after a superb innings of 82 which took his within sight of victory before Dhoni – as ever – finished things off in style.

TAHIR LIMITS DAMAGE

Twitter can be an unforgiving platform and once again, it was quick to pounce on Imran Tahir’s overzealous celebrations. Some would argue that despite match-winning innings from Rayudu and Dhoni, De Villiers’ effort was still the pick of the bunch.

He punished the Chennaiyin attack but could’ve destroyed them along with any hope of a successful run chase had it not been for Tahir stopping him in his tracks. With the penultimate ball of the 15th over, he got De Villiers caught out at deep cover by Sam Billings, luring the South African into the trap.

He set out on a run that only seemed destined to end all the way back in Chennai before he was stopped by a team-mate. His excitement was understandable though as the dismissal of De Villiers did significantly curtail the home team’s scoring.

He then picked up the wicket of Corey Anderson with the very next ball as the left-hander was caught in the slips by Harbhajan Singh. While RCB’s total of 205 was still daunting and one that should’ve been defended, it could’ve been more had it not been for Tahir’s two wickets in quick succession.

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